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Rumor: TSMC preparing trial run of 10-nanometer ARM chips, could power future iPhones

Apple chipmaking partner Taiwan Manufacturing Semiconductor Co. is reportedly gearing up to test production of 10-nanometer size processors beginning in June, according to a new rumor.




TSMC's alleged plans were first reported by UDN.com, which cited unnamed sources suggesting that the company plans to have a 10-nanometer pilot line in 12 factories. TSMC is said to be hoping to start signing contracts to produce chips before the end of the year.

One key partner expected to be eyeing the 10-nanometer process is Apple. Sources reportedly indicated that TSMC could handle the bulk, or even all, of manufacturing duties for a so-called "A10" chip that might arrive in 2016, as noted by G for Games.

Exactly what features or manufacturing process the "A10" processor might feature is impossible to say so far out. Apple is believed to have begun solidifying partners for its anticipated "A9" processor in late 2014, ahead of anticipated September 2015 launch of new iPhones.

Rumors have suggested the "A9" chip might use a 14-nanometer manufacturing process. Smaller processors are more efficient, resulting in power savings that can allow devices like the iPhone to see improved battery life, even as the chips themselves become more powerful and capable.

AppleInsider's own sources indicated in March that the "A9" chip will be paired with 2 gigabytes of RAM in this year's iPhone upgrade. Additional RAM would allow iOS to leave background tasks and tabs in Safari open for longer without a need to reload or refresh.

The current-generation 64-bit A8 chip is manufactured through a 20-nanometer process, which itself was a reduction from the previous A7 processor. It's believed that TSMC is responsible for the majority of A8 chip production.